International Clinical Trials Day is celebrated around the world on or near 20 May each year. It provides a focal point to raise awareness of the importance of research to healthcare and highlights how partnerships between patients and healthcare practitioners are vital to high-quality, relevant research. Here we reflect on the celebrations by focusing on some recent initiatives and publications about public involvement in clinical trials.

OK to ask’ campaign

The National Institute for Health Research (NIHR) is promoting a new campaign aimed at empowering patients to ask their doctor about clinical research and whether it’s right for them. In many cases doctors will approach patients about taking part in research but the NIHR also wants patients and carers to feel empowered to ask about it. If you have a medical condition and are undergoing treatment, the campaign would like you to ask your doctor, nurse or consultant about clinical research and let the NIHR know what happened. Individual researchers and research groups can show their support for the campaign by photographing themselves wearing an ‘OK to ask’ badge. For more information about the campaign visit

Public involvement in clinical trials: Supplement to the briefing notes for researchers

This INVOLVE publication provides advice for researchers who design and conduct clinical trials. It was written with members of the Medical Research Council Clinical Trials Unit (see article below) and includes real-life examples of how members of the public have been involved together with resources and references for further information. It is a specialist supplement to support the general information on how to involve members of the public in research which can be found in our Briefing notes for researchers.